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LeBron James Tells LaVar Ball Not to Mention His Kids, Family

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2017

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 19:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers waits during a 125-120 win over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on March 19, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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LeBron James was not pleased with LaVar Ball after the father of UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball said the four-time NBA MVP's sons would struggle to reach their potential because they're living in their dad's shadow.

"Keep my kids' name out of your mouth; keep my family out of your mouth," James told ESPN.com's Dave McMenamin on Tuesday. "This is dad to dad. It's a problem now.

"He can talk all about his brand, talk about his sons, talk about basketball, talk about me. But keep my family out of this."

The comments that drew James' ire were made March 10, when Ball was a guest on In the Zone with Chris Broussard. During his appearance, Ball said LeBron James Jr. and Bryce Maximus James had a tough road ahead because of the bar set by their namesake.

"You got LeBron—it's going to be hard for his kids because they are going to look at them like, 'You got to be just like your dad,'" Ball said, per McMenamin. "And after a while, that pressure starts sitting on you like, 'Why do I got to be just like him? What can't I just be me?' And then they are going to be like, 'Aw, you're soft. You're not that good.' Because the expectation is very, very high."

In the same conversation, Ball cited Stephen Curry and Kobe Bryant as prime examples of players who were able to thrive because their fathers, though NBA players, were not star-caliber talents.

"The monsters in the NBA—their dads wasn't that good," Ball said, per McMenamin. "They were OK—they was players—but the fact [is] that the old [Dell] Curry wasn't no All-Star. He wasn't cold. He could shoot the ball, though. Kobe Bryant—his dad wasn't all that. That's why he's such a monster."

Ball, of course, has not shied away from controversial statements.

Not only did LaVar proclaim Lonzo was "the best player in the world" in an interview with Time's Sean Gregory, but he also went on the record with Josh Peter of USA Today that he would have defeated Michael Jordan one-on-one.

Despite those comments, a handful of NBA executives have maintained they wouldn't be afraid of drafting Lonzo because of his father's public posturing.

According to the New York Daily News' Frank Isola, interviews with six NBA coaches and executives showed that "LaVar may be overbearing but not enough to prevent them from wanting to select Lonzo in the draft."

And while Lonzo's NBA debut is still seven months away, it won't be long before fans can circle on their calendars the first matchup between The King and the UCLA standout.